|Page, White ready for new start with Patriots||09.06.10 at 6:22 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When he was asked if he had any preconceived ideas about the Patriots before he was dealt to New England over the weekend, it’s no surprise defensive back Jarrad Page — a former college baseball player who was selected three different times in the MLB draft before opting for a football career — dropped a baseball metaphor on reporters.
“The Patriots area team that’s kind of like the Yankees,” Page said Monday afternoon after his first practice in Foxboro. “You never like them, but when you get a chance to play for them, you’re excited. You’re really happy you get to go to a team that’s a perennial winner.”
Pinstripes aside, Page and linebacker Tracy White got their first taste of life with the Patriots on Monday, less than 48 hours after New England picked them up in separate deals.
Page is a 6-foot, 225-pound defensive back who was taken in the seventh round of the 2006 draft out of UCLA. The 25-year old started all 16 games in 2007 and 2008 for the Chiefs, coming away with a career-high four picks in 2008. (He has 10 interceptions over four seasons in the NFL.)
But he landed on IR with a calf issue, and the two sides grew apart. (He felt he was misdiagnosed.) He requested a trade over the summer, and the Chiefs acquiesced this past weekend, sending him to the Patriots for an undisclosed draft pick.
“He’s been a productive player, and we’ll see exactly how he fits in,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Page, who will wear No. 44, formerly worn by linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. “I’m glad we got him. I think he will be a good addition to the group. I think he will help us. Looks like he’s been able to do some different things in the past and we’ll see how all that fits in with us.”
At 225 pounds, Page is the heaviest safety on the team, and could provide some help for a team that just put safety — and designated tight-end stopper — Brandon McGowan on season-ending injured reserve with a chest injury.
Page said Monday he could see himself in that role with the Patriots.
“Oh yeah. Definitely. Definitely. As a safety, you have to cover a tight end a lot. Come down in the box and cover the tight end,” he said. “[But] It’s definitely not where a tight end can come in and just throw a guy around. It helps to be a little bigger if you’ve got to deal with those guys.”
As for White, he’s a 6-foot, 234-pound linebacker who is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with Seattle (2003-04), Jacksonville (2005), Green Bay (2006-08) and Philadelphia (2008-09). He’ll wear No. 58 for the Patriots, last worn by linebacker Pierre Woods. And like Woods, White is a linebacker who has made his bones as special teamer — he has registered 94 special teams tackles, including a team-leading 18 special teams tackles for Philadelphia in 2009.
“I’m excited to be here. These guys, from coming in the door, it’s all about business. That’s what I like,” said White, who was acquired for an undisclosed draft choice. “I’m just trying to get to the Super Bowl, and this is my best chance. of getting there. I’m going to do as much as I can — whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to play my part and help the team out to get to where we need to go.”
“He’s a younger player. Fast,” said running back Fred Taylor, who played with White for a season in Jacksonville. “A guy who came in and didn’t say a lot — just did what the coaches asked him to do. A guy who’s made a living doing what he’s supposed to do. They brought him in thinking he could help, so hopefully, he will.”
While Page is on the big side for a safety, White acknowledges he’s on the opposite end of the spectrum as a linebacker. At 6-foot and 234 pounds, he’s the smallest linebacker on the team — he yields five inches to punter Zoltan Mesko, and the two are only four pounds apart in weight.
“My main role is special teams — they brought me in here to play special teams. That’s my part, right now. Probably a little bit of coverage and different packages, once I get a handle on the defense,” said White, who is on the depth chart as an inside linebacker. “They have a bunch of big linebackers here. I know I’m the smallest guy. I can probably be used for coverage.”
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